Sun Touts Value of Solaris 10 Code Under New License

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-01-25 Print this article Print

Aiming to be the "biggest friend of open source," the company says its open-sourcing of Solaris 10 code will help companies and governments across the globe. "But we don't want to move so fast and just dump everything out there," a

Sun Microsystems Inc. officially ended weeks of speculation Tuesday by announcing that it will use its recently approved CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) for its Open Solaris project, under which it will release some 10 million lines of Solaris 10 code. Company officials also confirmed that the Santa Clara, Calif., company is looking at the possibility of licensing other software under the CDDL, including its JES (Java Enterprise System), which was first reported by eWEEK. Sun will continue the trend of opening up its code and contributing it to the open-source community down the line, John Loiacono, Suns executive vice president for software, said in a media teleconference Tuesday afternoon.
"This is something that would be in Suns best interest. But we dont want to move so fast and just dump everything out there.
"We will move forward more slowly and make corrections as the new license is now out there, but watch this space," he said. Sun CEO and chairman Scott McNealy also told the media that the move will benefit many enterprise users and governments across the globe by meeting their open-source requirements. It also will open the base for Solaris and help drive it into new markets, he said. "With the Open Solaris project, I think its correct to say that Sun is the number-one donor of lines of code of any organization worldwide. Solaris 10 is the number-one operating system on the planet at this time in terms of features and choice of platforms, including Intel and AMD on 32-bit and 64-bit, and it is available for free with a right-to-use contract," McNealy said. Also, through the CDDL license, Sun has added intellectual property and patent protection for the 1,670 current patents associated with Solaris, McNealy said, adding that the patent system seemed random to many and that this removed the confusion. "This helps limit the IP divide that exists in developing countries, and for those companies who are unable to build network-based services and solutions because they are so far behind on the IP and patent front," he said. "They can now take the Open Solaris code base and build interesting services and bridging with access to this chunk of IP and patents rights." Read more here about Suns decision to give patent-use rights to developers. Unlike other companies, which were using open source as a way to dispose of end-of-life code, Sun is giving access to its most current product, McNealy said. "Weve eliminated any barrier we can think of. You can run Unix and Linux applications natively, and the code base also supports the Java platform," he said. "We are hoping to regain the image as the biggest friend of open source and the community out there. We have done all we can with regard to the Open Source Initiative and community," McNealy said. Next Page: Addressing the perception of a closed company.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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